Shanghai, China, April 13 – McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton was fastest in first practice for the Chinese Grand Prix on Friday, as Formula One attempted to get back to the business of racing after all the talk about Bahrain.
The Briton, who has been hit with a five-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race, left it late in the session to romp home quickest in one min 37.106sec to set the pace at a damp and cool Shanghai International Circuit.
Nico Rosberg, in a Mercedes, was second-fastest, 1.010sec off Hamilton, with Rosberg’s team-mate Michael Schumacher, the seven-time world champion, third. He was 1.210sec off Hamilton.
Sergio Perez, the surprise package in Malaysia, was fourth-fastest, followed by Kamui Kobayashi and Mark Webber, who had been fastest for most of the session.
Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel was seventh and current championship leader Fernando Alonso down in 11th.
The race is at 3:00pm (0700 GMT) on Sunday.
1. Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren 1:37.106, 2. Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes 1:38.116, 3. Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes 1:38.316, 4. Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber 1:38.584, 5. Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) Sauber 1:38.911, 6. Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull 1:38.977, 7. Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull 1:39.198, 8. Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren 1:39.199, 9. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Toro Rosso 1:39.748, 10. Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) Toro Rosso 1:39.768, 11. Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari 1:40.056, 12. Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari 1:40.153, 13. Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams 1:40.298, 14. Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Force India 1:40.328, 15. Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams 1:40.540, 16. Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Caterham 1:41.071, 17. Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus 1:41.204, 18. Timo Glock (GER) Marussia 1:42.330, 19. Giedo van der Garde (NED) Caterham 1:42.521, 20. Jules Bianchi (FRA) Force India 1:44.118, 21. Pedro de la Rosa (ESP) HRT 1:44.227, 22. Charles Pic (FRA) Marussia 1:44.500, 23. Narain Karthikeyan (IND) HRT 1:47.204, 24. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus 1:50.465